A bad night’s sleep increases the fat associated with cardiovascular disease. This is what a study carried out by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the United States shows, published in the scientific journal Journal of the American College of Cardiology. According to research, lack of restful sleep causes a 9% increase in total abdominal fat area and an 11% increase in visceral fat, a cause for concern for scientists.
“This suggests that inadequate sleep is a previously unrecognized trigger for visceral fat deposition, and that recovery sleep, at least in the short term, does not reverse this fat accumulation,” says Virend Somers, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Mayo Clinic and one of the lead authors of the research, in a note. “In the long term, these findings suggest that inadequate sleep contributes to the epidemics of obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases”, he says, about the accumulation of visceral fat, which occurs between the internal organs of the abdomen and is directly associated with the development of diseases. metabolic and cardiovascular.
According to the researchers, people have been sleeping less because of work shifts, electronic devices and social media, in addition to sleep problems acquired by the stressors of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that there is a tendency to eat more. , as people spend more time awake and do not compensate with physical exercise. “Our findings show that shortened sleep, even in young, healthy, and relatively lean individuals, is associated with an increase in calorie intake, which provides a small increase in weight but a significant increase in belly fat accumulation.” , points out Somers.
The study was carried out with twelve healthy people, divided into groups, who underwent two 21-day analysis periods. A part of the volunteers slept normally – about nine hours – and the other had sleep restricted to four hours a day. During this period, scientists looked at energy consumption, energy expenditure, body weight, body composition, fat distribution – including visceral – and appetite biomarkers. During restricted sleep time, they also found that people consumed 13% more protein and 17% more fatty foods, on average.
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